India summons German Ambassador over Baby Ariha case

Indian actor-politician Jaya Bachchan with Baby Ariha's mother. (ANI)
Indian actor-politician Jaya Bachchan with Baby Ariha's mother. (ANI)

India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned the German Ambassador this week in connection with the case of two-year-old Indian baby girl Ariha Shah, who has been placed in foster care in Germany since September 2021 over allegations of parental abuse.

Marking this as a violation of the girl’s cultural and fundamental rights, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: "We are giving high priority to this case... We have called the German Ambassador this week regarding this. We've asked the German authorities to bring back the child at the earliest. We are in touch with the German authorities."

The child, Ariha Shah, was accidentally hurt by her grandmother in September 2021 following which the German authorities took the baby away. She is currently under German foster care. Since Baby Ariha's family urged the authorities to look into their matter, the Indian government has been raising the issue with the German authorities. 

In June, CPI(M) MP John Brittas and 58 other members of Parliament belonging to 19 political parties signed a joint letter addressed to the German Ambassador to India for the repatriation of a Baby Ariha.

Opposition Congress MP Shashi Tharoor took to social media to share an “emotional meeting with the family of Baby Ariha”, mother Dhara and grandfather.

“Since Germany will not allow the child to be returned to her parents, they request she be sent to foster care in India under supervision of the Indian child welfare authorities,” he said.

Earlier, in this regard, Bagchi said that the MEA and the Embassy of India in Berlin have been persistently advocating for the return of Ariha Shah to India. He said that the government has urged German authorities to do all that is necessary to send Ariha to India at the earliest, which is also her inalienable right as an Indian national.

"We remain committed to ensuring the return of Ariha Shah to India," he said.

"India has a robust child welfare and protection system, and there are potential foster parents in India who are willing to bring up the child in her own socio-cultural milieu. The German authorities have been made aware of India's child protection system and the details of potential foster parents have also been shared with them. Ariha's continued placement in German foster care and infringement of her social, cultural and linguistic rights is of deep concern to the Government of India and the parents," he added. 

(ANI)

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